Have you ever wanted to know something for sure, without a shadow of a doubt? Like Luke talks about in chapter 1:1-4. Knowing with certainty! Being absolutely sure.
I know a little boy who knows something for sure. This boy was full of energy and excitement. He loved to run and play, and usually had to learn things the hard way. He lived on a small farm, raised among the chickens and cows. On this farm there were electric fences. These fences were made to keep the livestock in their designated pens and other animals from getting in their pen. Well one day the little boy and his father were working together (the boy mainly asking a lot a questions like little kids love to do). As they carried their tools to begin working on the fence the father remembered that He hadnít turned the fence off. So he quickly set his load down and told his son ďthat heíd be right back and not to touch the fence until he got back.Ē So the father trotted off to turn off the fence but while he was gone the boy got to wondering if it was really going to shock him, and if it did would it hurt that bad. So he touched the fence despite his fatherís instructions. Well as you can image the fence gave the little boy a good jolt. Tears and screaming commenced almost immediately. The father ran back to see what was wrong and soon found out that his little son had not listened. Despite the boys distrust in his fatherís promise, the fence still shocked him. And I can guarantee you I never touched an electric fence on purpose again, at least not while it was on. That day, I learned that electricity hurts; but more importantly I learned that I could trust my father. I knew from then on that He meant what He said. I could trust his guarantees.
In life we all live our lives around guarantees. For example we all know that the sun will rise and set because it has always been so for as long as we can remember. We all know that apples fall to the ground, not into the air; because it has never done otherwise. We live our daily lives based on truths that are consistent, most of the time we donít even think about it. We subconsciously trust the sky not to fall and the stars to shine even if we canít seem them because of the clouds. Our relationship with God is just like that. Like knowing the seasons will come and go we can rely on the Faithfulness of God. We can know with certainty that God will do what He says. We can know with certainty that He is who He says He is because He is Faithful. We can know that He will keep His promises because He has always done so.
I want to look at some promises that God has kept to His people and then look at some promises that He has made to you and me, and finally see what in our lives has to change with the knowledge that He is faithful.
First letís look at one of the first promises that God ever made. Turn with me to Gen. 3:9-15. In this passage the serpent has just seduced man into death. I want to focus on verse 15. Here God promises to crush his head and to free man. To undo what he had done. This promise isnít fulfilled for nearly 2000 years, but it does come true. During that time we see Satan throughout the OT trying to stop that promise from coming true. He incites Cain against Abel, attempting to destroy the possibility of a savoir and thus preventing his destruction. But Seth enters the picture. Satan throughout time did everything He could to keep this promise from coming true. But God is faithful and the promise was fulfilled. God keeps His promise. In Jesusí crucifixion we see the destruction of Satan and a Savior for man. Just because we canít see immediate results from promises God has given us doesnít mean He has forgotten us or said no. He doesnít work on our time table. You have faith in His Faithfulness.
Another good example of Godís faithfulness is found in the promises that God gives Noah. Turn with me to Gen. 6. In this text the world is lost to Satan. We find God grieved to the point of destroying the world! Verse 5 really lays it out there. Image yourself in Noahís shoes for a moment. You are the only believer left,Ö in the world! Everyone laughs at you because you follow an old out a date belief. They tease and poke fun at you because you trust in a God that no one else does. You trust in a God that hasnít revealed himself in a long time. Then God in verse 14 tells Noah to build a boat. Noah is like ďWhatís a boat? Well itís something that goes on the water. Whatís water? Well itís this stuff that is going to come from the sky. The sky?Ē God is completely changing Noahís life, calling him to trust him completely even though he doesnít understand or know how it can be. Letís read Heb. 11:7Ö. Noah built the boat, because He knows that God like the sunrise and sunset will keep his end of the deal. Noah builds for 100 years. 100 YEARS!! All the while people are mocking him, ridiculing him, his wife saying ďok, now honey its time to stop now.Ē He knows, with certainty that God will come through and as we know he does. God is faithful and his promise is fulfilled again. God makes another promise to Noah after the flood in the rainbow. Gen. 9:11Ö. God has even kept his promise to Noah up to this day in the rainbow. The world has yet to completely flood again, right? Are you beginning to see that God can be trusted?
Next turn with me to Heb. 11:8-12. here we see another example of our Faithful God. In Gen. God makes several promises to a man named Abraham. He promises him an heir (15:4), descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore (15:5), and a land to call his own (15:7). He keeps those promises despite Satanís attempts to stop it and Abrahamís lack of faith at times. Abraham receives a son in Gen. 21:1-2. His descendants become as numerous as the sand in their Egyptian captivity and they take possession of the land later on in the book of Joshua. The main point I want us all to see here is that God is faithful. He doesnít back out or back down on what He says. When He makes a promise He means business.
So we have looked at some amazing promises God has made, promises that seemed (to the recipients) unheard of and outlandish. But all of these promises were fulfilled. All of them answered, even though man sometimes didnít keep his end of the deal. God is Faithful to His Word.
But how does that relate to me today? I mean yeah He kept His promises to them in those days but today is different. How can I trust Him? Those promises donít really relate to me today. Well letís look at some that do.
Letís look at one of my personal favorites first. Turn with me to I Cor. 10:13. Thatís a promise people! No matter what you face in life it WILL NOT be beyond what you can bare. Now I donít know about you guys but I have often thought contrary, especially when in some crisis. But looking back, I know it is true. I have either overcome or succumbed to every temptation. The ones that I succumbed to could have been avoided if I had wanted it enough. But you say, there are situations that are out of our control. True, but your reaction is still yours. Will it be glorifying to God or not? Will you allow yourself to take Godís path or Satanís? God loves you and will not give you more than you can bear. If ever you think that youíre getting more than your share read Job and itíll change your mind. Or read about Paul and all that He went through, you havenít suffered to that point yet and they didnít sin in those situations. They persevered and won that crown of righteousness! We can too, with this promise from God! No matter how hard it gets, God promises you that it wonít be too much.
Another great promise that God gives us is in Mat. 7:7-8. Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened! I donít know how many times I read over that growing up and it never hit me that those are promises from God. They arenít little cute phrases you pin on the wall or impractical metaphors of God. Those are promises from God, to you and me! They are guarantees. Like powerful response that I got from that electric fence I touched these promises are going to happen. You seek, you will find!
Another one I find personally comforting is in Mat. 28:20. Jesus makes an amazing promise. Do you ever feel alone? I know I have! Do ever feel abandoned? I know I have! Why? I think to often we forget that Jesus is right there next to us. Not only do we have the spirit living in us but Jesus himself is walking right next to us when we go to the supermarket and the bank. Heís there, Heís here now. He will not leave or abandon us. I remember watching a horror movie after I had come to grips with this truth. It was about demons and things, but the point is this. Before, these movies had always frightened me but after I really knew with certainty that Jesus was walking with me, demons and things were suddenly so wimpy. I mean, if Jesus is walking next to you and He can drive out demons, whatís the big deal?
Alright, finally letís look at my personal favorite. Turn with me to I Pet. 3:21Ö. The God of Heaven and Earth, The God who was and is Faithful to every promise He has ever made; makes you, makes me, makes us a promise. He promises to save us from our sin. How? (Thatís our end of the deal) By baptism. Thatís a promise, when youíre baptized, I WILL save you! Isnít that beautiful?! We can know that it will happen just like we know that I got shocked by that fence when I touched it. We can know that Heíll come through on His end of the deal because He has every time before. Itís His nature to be Faithful. Him being Faithful isnít enough though, He wants you to know it. He wants you to know with certainty that He will be here for you forever. He wants to free you from fear and doubt. Thatís His desire. He will not give you more than you can bare, He wonít leave us or abandon us, He will open if we knock, He will purify me the sinner! Those are promises that you can stand on! Things that you can know without a shadow of a doubt are true. Why? Because of His track record, because of His nature.
If I know this to be true, what in my life has to change? If I know that He is a God of His word, then how will that affect my life? Turn with me to Psalms 145:13Ö. David here is putting a lot a trust in to God. Why? He was King. He had everything, if anyone didnít need God it was him. He was set up, but He does. He puts all of his trust into his creator. Do you? Do you live your life everyday leaning 100% Jesus? I know all too often I donít. Too quickly do I attempt to do it my way, as apposed to His way. To often do I rely on Michael and not Jesus Christ. I want to rely on Him, I say I do; but does your life reflect it? What do your neighbors think you rely on? Does your talk match your walk? Turn with me to Psalms 119:50Ö My comfort in my suffering! Is you oh Lord! How many of us suffer?.... Me too, but is our comfort in the Lord? When those rough times come and the boat is about to sink, are you at peace or running around frantically trying to take care of everything. Because you know thatís His job.
I want to end with this. Heb. 13:8Ö.. He is the God of Abraham, Noah and you and me! He is more reliable than the falling of an apple! He is more gracious than we deserve! He is constant! He is Faithful! He is our God and He will fulfill His promises to us! Let our lives show it. Let them be blazing beacons of His Faithfulness in this dark world. He has never failed to fulfill a promise, why would He start now? You can trust Him like you trust the sun to set and rise, or an electric fence to shock you. Live your live like you know it!